I know I said I was going to be better about posting pics, but unfortunately that does not start today! I was going to wait to post something until I had pictures but then decided, why wait? Just post something with pictures next time!
You always hear how tastes change as you get older and boy is that ever true! I used to hate peppermint, everything about it, the smell of peppermint used to make me nauseous! This past winter, around Christmas though, I randomly decided to taste my husband’s peppermint mocha he ordered since the smell didn’t upset me! To my complete surprise, it was delicious. I have now consumed over 50 peppermint mochas and it’s only been about a month…once I like something, I go all out! Since I was drinking so many (sometimes 2 a day, seriously), I decided to make my own at home to save some money. I didn’t make any fancy syrup or anything even remotely complicated, although I certainly will soon…I just used a really good dark chocolate, chopped up, and put in in the glass with the milk before steaming. The steam melts the chocolate and creates a rich, creamy cocoa which I then added peppermint extract and espresso to! Another way I have done it is to add peppermint chips (found all over around Christmas time, not so much anymore though) in with the chocolate chunks and steam them all together. I prefer this way however, as I said, it might be hard to find peppermint chips now that Christmas is over…I knew I should have stocked up!
Another peppermint item that seems to have come up a lot this past year was peppermint bark. My mother-in-law loves it and my sister-in-law makes the best one…so I got her recipe and have made at least 10 batches so far, a few of those strictly for me to ‘taste-test!’ So if you want the best peppermint bark, and you should always want only the best, here’s her super simple, yet delicious recipe:
- 6 ounces dark chocolate (good dark chocolate is the key here, you want a really good brand)
- 2 teaspoons oil or shortening (I used shortening but either works…just gives it a nice shine as opposed to a dullness dry chocolate tends to take on)
- 6 ounces white chocolate (same rule, good quality makes all the difference)
- 2 teaspoons oil or shortening
- 3/4 – 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- crushed candy canes
Line an 8X8 pan with wax or parchment paper. Melt the dark chocolate with the shortening or oil in a double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted and completely smooth. Pour the chocolate into the 8X8 pan, banging pan on counter top to even out the chocolate layer. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so the chocolate sets and hardens.
After 30 minutes, melt the white chocolate and shortening or oil in a a double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted and completely smooth. Remove the white chocolate from the heat and stir in the peppermint extract. Let cool a few minutes while you get the hardened chocolate out of the refrigerator. Pour the white chocolate/peppermint over the dark chocolate. Smooth it out using an offset spatula, reaching every corner. Bang pan on counter top again to even everything out. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes and refrigerate until set/hardened.
I usually keep the bark in the fridge until I want a piece or am bringing it somewhere so it stays hard. You can leave it out, it will just get a little soft from the oil/shortening…delicious either way, personal preference!